Tuesday, April 15, 2014

april bloom day 2014

It may be raining, but I have flowers!  That is my #1 garden goal this year, and I'm excited about what all we've done, and the things I have found, so far. I knew the weather was going to be a mess this morning, so I took my pictures this weekend.  I hope you'll forgive me.

When you turn in my driveway the first thing you'll notice are the Dogwoods.  They are especially white this year, and dot the woods all through the property.


If you take a walk in my woods you will see a lot more wild azaleas than I have noticed before.  I thought I had two or three, but they number more than 30, and are in a couple of different spots.  Some are taller than I am, and some are just babies.  We cleared underbrush last year, and I think that's helping them bloom.  I spent the weekend clearing out around the newly discovered azaleas, so the show should be even better next year.  The white azaleas are are first to bloom, and the pink ones are just starting to open up.





Also in the woods is a thicket of Carolina Sweet Shrubs/ Allspice.  Seriously, a thicket. Most range 4'-5' tall, with a few closer to 6' or 7'.  They have really cool blooms, and I transplanted a few small plants near the house. They are pretty much in my ideal category of plants - plants that thrived on their own through 20+ years of neglect.


When you get to my house you will notice that the yard is covered in little purple flowers called Blue Its.  I don't mow my grass very often, so these flowers have really taken off and spread since I've lived here.  I love them.


I have later blooming daffodils blooming in scattered spots around the yard and woods.  I love how haphazard their placement is (before my time here).


The hellebores are still going strong, and a few of the earlier blooms have started to go to seed.  Looks like I will have more baby hellebores next year.


The Bird's Foot Voilets (Viola Pedata) are really happy this year.  I have 4 that come up in my kitchen garden, and they seem to be growing some this year.


I also have this giant bush/small tree that was must have been planted by my great grandmother 30-50 years ago.  It has a huge trunk, and arching branches that have taken over a walkway.  It is a survivor, but I don't remember it blooming since I've been here.  I cleared out some small trees around it last fall, and it's got a few blooms.  It's not very showy, it's hard to see the white trumpeted flowers against the silver leaves, but the bees are happy.


The bees are also happy with the spiderwart and this purple ground cover that everyone loves, but I kind of hate.  It's pretty when it blooms, but the other 11 months out of the year I think it looks awful in my driveway.  I'm sure it is nice in the right setting, but my driveway is not it.


Moving on to my oh-so-cleverly-named 'Shade Garden', this is one of the areas where I said "I will have flowers damn it".  It's undergone a small transformation, moving the wild huckleberries, a holly tree, and Hearts-A-Bursting back from the one thing of interest, the azalea.  And man the azalea is happy now.  I don't think it's received much attention since it was planted, so it is thrilled to have two years of fertilizer, pine mulch, and one year of extra watering under its belt.  It's like the plant version of spa treatment. 


This bed is now home to two of my seven $2 alazeas.  The pink ones have been re-potted and are blooming, and the two purple ones in the ground are right behind the pink one above.  I haven't decided where the other 5 will go, but I have a few ideas.  Side note, I'm not sure when 'hot pink' became 'pink', but these pink azaleas look nothing like my mom's pastel pink ones.


There is also a columbine from last year that is about to bloom.


A few weeks ago I picked up some plants from family, and the wild geraniums and trillium found homes in the shade garden.  They look pretty happy so far.


I also picked up a native columbine that is blooming in the also-cleverly-named 'Mini Shade Garden'.  It sits behind a group of Lily of the Valley, that just put out it's first flowers yesterday.


Let's see, what else.  The vica minor is still going strong, and I have a little bit of thrift that survived an accidental roundup treatment when I first moved in and was tackling some nasty ivy in a rock wall.  The Little Brown Jugs have jugs, and the violets I got from family are doing nicely in the cracks of my rock walkway, even though it's mostly clay.  I know most people think they are weeds, but I like them, and these are really unique.


So look, FLOWERS!!  It's a really nice start to having established gardens, and the project for this week is digging out 3 old beds around the house so I can plant some hostas, bloodroot, and my new roses, and clearing 2 new paths in the woods.  Not overly ambitious at all. :)

This post is part of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.  Check it out!! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

from zero to garden

THIS is my year.  When I moved into my house, I said I would observe the garden for a year, and then start gardens.  Last year, my year to plant, ended up consumed by painting my house.  So this year is my year.  We got started last fall with the hydrangeas & day lilies, I have worked in the woods this spring, and I am moving into high gear.  I will have flowers this year.

The day lily bed is to the left of the pot. 
They are much happier this year.

This weekend I picked up some early blooming daffodils from my parents house, some composted horse manure from a friend's farm, and plants from my grandparent's house on Signal Mountain.  I made out like a bandit.

 
My Saturday afternoon was spent loading and unloading compost.  I also got all of the daffodils divided and in the ground.  They are some of my favorite spring flowers, and I can't wait to have more scattered about.  I also moved my awesome $2 azaleas into bigger pots until I can decide on a permanent home for them, they are much happier now. 

Sunday was busy too, and this is really where I felt like I was making real progress because it involved plants and not prep work.  We celebrated my grandfathers 87th birthday, and I came home with quite a few gems from their gardens.

Here's a list of plants I got on Sunday:
  • Trout Lily, Lilium erythronium americanum?
  • Tiger Lily, Lilium superbum
  • Australian Lily
  • Wild Geranium, Geranium maculatum
  • Trillium, Trillium kurabayashii?
  • Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis

I'm happy to say that all of these plants now have new homes, or are in a holding bed.  That's a lot of holes dug this weekend.



The next step is digging the manure into 3 new beds around the foundation of my house.  They've all had mulch on them for at least a year, so hopefully it won't be too bad.  This is where the hostas will go, as well as some of the wildflowers, and also my roses.

My roses from Rose Petals Nursery shipped yesterday!!!  It will probably be two weekends before I can put them in the ground, but I'm more excited than most of you can relate too.  We all have our 'things' I guess.

Buff Beauty
Cramoisi Superieur
It started raining right as I was finishing up my plantings, so for those of you wanting to see pictures, they will be coming after I make a little more progress.

Friday, April 4, 2014

trees

It finally feels like spring!! I love it, I love it, I love it! The weather has been so nice I have actually *wanted* to work in the yard.

What I am focused on right now are trees.  I love trees.  People have been know to call me a tree hugger.  I love the way trees look, the privacy they create, and the shade that lowers my power bill in the summer.  I live in the woods, and I like it that way.  I don't want to see my neighbors, and I like love that you can't see my house when you drive down the road.  BUT I also like to be able to sit on my porch and actually see the pond in front of my house.  AND little trees don't become big trees unless they have room to grow.

So in that spirit, I'm on a tree kick. Last year my mom and I cut down some underbrush, and you can actually see the pond.  So far this year I've cut out saplings around the evergreens in my side yard, and I took my neighbors up on their offer to cut down a few trees to expand the work mom and I had done in the main section.  The trees we cut were less than 4" in diameter,  but it was a dense area, and it made a big difference.   (And I'm kind of freaking out.  I mean, I'm bad about not cutting my hair, and it grows back pretty fast.  Trees on the other hand, well, they're a little different.)  I'm leaving the big trees, the dogwoods, evergreens, & redbuds, as well as the wild azaleas, sweet shrubs, huckleberries, and other ''interesting, but not yet identified plants'.

I have cleared to the left of the line, and you can see the pond, to the right of the line, not so much. 

This ends up being a short term vs long term thing for me.  In the short term, it makes it easier to see my house from the road (-), in the long run, I will have bigger, healthier trees to provide some privacy (+).   There was a little bit of shock when we finished the first section this year, but it's going to be worth it.

And this is how I know it will be worth it.  I have this great magnolia in my front yard.  When I first moved in, it was tall, but it was also very skinny.   We cut down about 30 small trees to give myself a front yard instead of front woods.  The magnolia has started to fill out, and it bloomed a lot more last year.  A little more sun, and a lot less competition for moisture, did a lot of good for a tree that will give me a lot of shade and privacy down the road. Here's hoping the same holds true for the rest of my front yard.

Friday, March 28, 2014

(Re)Discover Chattanooga - Ace is the place

There has been a lot of internet negativity in my life lately, (I'm looking at you 2nd Amendment gun nuts with poor reading comprehension skills) so I thought I would share some love on the interwebs today.


I love my Ace.  There is an Ace in Clemson, but it's not the same.  My Ace is better. It is always well staffed by people who want to help you.  And they've helped me a lot.  They have helped me with paint projects, garden projects, plumbing projects, and they even stock my favorite wedding gift. (A glass oil lamp btw. You always need one, but never think to ask.  And they're pretty.)

Ace is a franchise, and it's up to the owners to make their store stand out.  Mine has a Christmas Shoppe, and solid garden center.  They keep all the bagged mulch, soil, soil conditioner, and mushroom compost that my tahoe can carry, and they never complain about loading it for me.  I'm sure they know what's coming when I walk in the door, and they don't make me feel bad about it.  I appreciate that.

Everything they sell is quality stuff without being too expensive, and there are always options depending on how broke I am when I walk in the door. I've gotten everything from garden hoses and gloves, to roofing nails, to fence posts, to the stuff I needed to hook up my ice maker.  They help,  they're nice, and it makes my life a lot easier.

So if you're ever out in East Brainerd, hit up my Ace Hardware on East Brainerd Road.  They rock.

Ace Hardware
8164 E Brainerd Rd
Chattanooga, TN
(423) 892-0112
website | Facebook

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2014 projects - mark one off the list

Ta-Da!  I now have lattice on my front porch.


This is part privacy screen, and part structure for my Confederate Jasmine to start climbing on.  I grew Confederate Jasmine when I lived in South Carolina, and it tops my list of favorite plants.  It smells amazing, is drought tolerant, and doesn't require much care.  The new growth doesn't love the cold, but once the vine is thick and woody, it gets pretty tough.  It's a fast grower too, which is wonderful, since mine was too young to handle our unusually cold winter this year.

The lattice was about $20 from Home Depot, and it's painted plastic, so I don't have to worry too much about it weathering.  Since it may not be permanent, I hung it on nails with wide heads.  I used roofing nails, but most nails would work.  Pretty simple project, and the price was definitely right.

Cross another one off the list!
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